GABF 25th Year Beer | Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub

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GABF 25th Year BeerGABF 25th Year Beer

Brewed by:
Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
Colorado, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
An ESB (as stated by the brewery) brewed by Charlie Papazian at Boulder Beer to celebrate 25 years of the Great American Beer Festival (GABF).

Added by TastyTaste on 08-26-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 91 |  Reviews: 86
Photo of melitameister
4.35/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just consumed one of three remaining 22 oz. bottles of case of GABF 25th Year Beer. Cellared for over five years, this strong bitter is still delicious.

Nice American hops and fruit aroma with no off fumes coming off clear amber brew in special glass with a perfect dense, creamy head with plenty of nice, sticky lace. Complex flavors closer to a fine American IPA than a British style bitter.

Can't wait to suck down the last two.

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Photo of jaluria
4.32/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a bright orange color with plenty of lacing. A soapy, white head that remains a thin film. Aromas of citrus, hops, apricot, pine, and grass. The taste was crisp and hoppy with a balanced, malt flavors. Slightly creamy texture with plenty of flavors. Easy to sip and enjoy.

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Photo of rowew
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22 oz bomber, limited edition. Label talks about Charlie Papazian and the GABF history, as well as a description of the beer.

Appearance: Bright orange, a bit of haze to it. Nice big head, good retention. Looks a bit more like an IPA, but nice appearance.

Smell: Nice combination of hops and malt - some piney hops and a bit of spice, with a nice background of malty sweetness.

Taste: Very nice - well balanced. Starts off fairly hoppy, citrus and some resiny flavors. Malt comes on to balance things out, finishing just a bit sweet.

Overall impression: Very nice ESB - more hops than a lot of english examples, but still balanced out by the malt.

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Photo of shbobdb
4.28/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very good beer. Been eyeing it for a while, but decided to pick it up (finally)

It pours a glorious amber with a head like no other. Serious head retention, serious lacing, holy crap! Why can't every beer look like this!?

It smells of raw hops. They say Saaz, and I believe it, but it has a lot of citrusy American notes as well. But that could just be the excessive alcohol. I'm not sure.

The taste is very good. Syrupy sweet from the malt, but delightfully balanced by the hops. A very good balanced beer,

The mouthfeel is full and rich . . .

And the drinkability is unparalleled.

Really good stuff. I'm not a lover of english beer, but I do like their malts. This blends english malts with continental hops and just the slightest hint of PNW hops (maybe?) to create one helluva beer experience. I dig.

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Photo of letsgopens
4.22/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

GABF 25th Year Beer is a distinctly flavourful bitter with a misty golden colour and a clean white head that lasts longer than expected.

When first poured the fruity bouquet is sharp with citrus tones and a wheaty note that fades into a pleasant yeastiness.

It drinks full with a light buttery flavor that melts into a welcomed hoppiness. The fruity bitterness gives way to a wheaty substance that reminds me of many Belgian style brews.

Overall very satisfying. This beer was better than I'd expected it to be. It certainly merits a second bottle.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled April 2007
Pours with an almost brilliantly clear, perfectly amber color and is topped by a frothy, initially three-finger thick, light tan colored head that leaves some lacing patterns on the sides of the glass as it slowly subsides. The aroma has a nice hop character to it; lightly herbal, with some sweet citrus notes of orange peel, lemon zest and a touch of pity tangerine. A fair amount of malt character is here too, with notes of dry biscuit-like grain, a touch of caramel / brown sugar, but really this has a nice, full, fresh ground malt aroma, especially towards the end. Really though this beer has a hop focused nose, it is quite interesting how the citrus character moves from sweet to tart citrus notes as one takes in a draught of the aroma.

The beer rests lightly on the mouth, that is to say it is fairly light bodied, yet with a touch of fullness to it. Quite hoppy with a biting, zesty hop note that adds a bitterness from the get go. This bitterness lingers on into the finish. The beer is fairly dry, which really adds to the zippy, biting hop character. There are still a fair amount of citrus-like hop notes noticeable though, I just think that more might have been noticeable if the malt character was a bit fuller and a touch sweeter. Still that would detract from how light and drinkable this beer is. As this beer is, the citrus character leans towards lemon zest and tart grapefruit, with a touch of sweeter orange character around the edges. Despite being fairly dry, there is quite a bit of malt character present; I get a really nice, fresh malt character here (a sweet of biscuit notes, crusty bread, and soda cracker character), as well as a touch of caramelized malt character.

This is actually a really nice beer, it is quite well balanced. It is certainly hop focused (but not to the levels of most American IPAs), but has a really nice, subtly powerful malt character that mixes with and intermingles with the hop character. I am quite impressed with how much citrus character was pulled out of the Saaz hops, I always thought of them as having a lemon zest character, but this is a bit more than I was expecting (the ale yeast certainly contributes to this I am sure(. This is quite a nice beer, and it turned out to be a nice surprise as I was not expecting much.

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Photo of aluskungs
4.18/5  rDev +13%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great, great smell. Like putting your face into a bin of hops and breathe... nice hoppy fresh sweetness, not harsh very flowery.

The beer in my glass is a hazy copper, maybe not filtered? Small head that disappears, a bit odd being that hops aid in head retention, maybe my glass is dirty.

Very drinkable beer that one can quaff down in no time flat. A big malt sweetness followed by bitterness to cleanse the palate and clear the taste bud runway for the next arrival of coppery goodness!

A good ESB that would be a good flagship beer for any brewery. A great example of style that any beer drinker would like.

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Photo of bwyker
4.17/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.
Pours an orange-amber hue, with a moderate head of foam (about ½ inch) – of which about 1/8 stuck around during the entire tasting. Grapefruit in the nose, with hints of pineapple. Starts with the taste of citrus. Transitions to a sweet, yet earthy/grassy taste then finishes with a huge stinging bitterness. Mouthfeel is light and slightly dry. Excellent balance. Easy to drink, with a characteristically boulder fruity hop deliciousness.

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Photo of Dewey0603
4.15/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my second review and the first with this beer listed as an ESB.
This beer pours a clear yellow orange with a huge white foamy head. The color's OK,but the head leaves great lacing and lasts forever. The smell is "bisquity" with a large citrus hop aroma. A real strong aroma in this beer. The taste is creamy with a real mild hop presence. The slight bitterness makes this a clear crisp very drinkable beer. As far as ESB's go, this is one of the better ones.

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Photo of umustdrink
4.13/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Bubble amber or light mahogany color. Head is rocky and bright white colored. Strong lacing, sticking in thick sheets.

S - Sweet and bitter piny hops balanced nicely with malts, mildly caramely and kind of smoky.

T/M - Smooth and creamy texture, flavor starts with sweet and peppery malts, piny and citrusy hops, very bitter. Carbonation is minimal but there are some very nice hoppy bites in there. Finish leaves a nice lasting bitterness, which is slightly sweet.

D - Very easy drinking stuff with some nice intriguing flavors that will to keep you drinking. Pick it up if you can still find it.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.11/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear orangish amber color with a small head that quickly dissapears into a thin white lace that encircles the glass. A nice hoppy aroma that is mostly citrus (grapefruit) and a bit of malt make up the nose. A very brief malt presence starts out in the taste and is quickly followed by a long finish dominated by the citrusy hops. The taste could have been a bit more balanced but it is still good. Overall, this is a pretty interesting brew that I would not mind having again. Recommened.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a cloudy orange color with a thin off-white head that fades at a decent rate and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is very heavy with grassy hops. There’s a slight touch of citrus sweetness along with a distinct malt background.

T: The flavor is malty with a heavy hops character. Flavors of caramel and smoke start out, then the hops out and provide the “B” in ESB. This one is hoppy for the style, so I can see how it could be mistaken for an IPA. There’s a very mild flavor of sweetness. The after-taste is full of hops and smoky malt.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish.

D: Tasty, easy to drink, slightly filling, I haven’t had too many ESB’s but this one is definitely the best that I’ve had in the style.

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Photo of UnionMade
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split a bottle of this with my buddy Mike. Reading the label, I was expecting some kind of big beer, thus desiring some company, but what we got was a pleasant, sessionable surprise.
Bright amber, topped with a puffy white head. Good sticky lacing down my glass. Mellow, malty aroma, bouyed with some bright, floral hop character. Kinda reminiscent of Timothy Taylor's Landlord. Must be the Saaz. Medium to full bodied and definitely malt driven. Solid toastiness, giving way to some pear and apple fruitiness and a moderately assertive hoppy finish. The balance is excellent. Very, very quaffable. Feels pretty substantial, but sips well. The hops have an air of the pacific northwest, but mostly remain on the european continent.

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Photo of LeftyBWS
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. brown bomber into a shaker pint glass.
A: Glowing dark orange in color with some amber hues. Low carbonation visible. One inch of smooth head, light tan in color. Lacing is a light coat that slides slowly down the glass.
S: Overtones at first of earthy sugars and honey, perhaps some spiciness like ginger. Light notes of oranges and citrusy hops that linger a bit.
T: A crispy citrus hop flavor leads the way and remains throughout. Some sugars kick in towards the middle but fade before the finish. The finish is buttery and toasty, smooth and malty, but a tiny kick of the citrus hops is present in the aftertaste, too.
M: Mildly crisp throughout, with little alcohol presence. Bubbly finish, but the overall feeling is fairly dryish.
D: Quite good. I felt like I could go for more after this bomber, and the minimization of alcohol presence was much appreciated.
Overall, a solid beer. I would have had trouble classifying this by taste, but I see that this has been labeled as an ESB. To me it seemed like a cross between a bitter and an amber/brown ale. Certainly a unique brew, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I have no idea about its availability, so I'd say if you see it, buy it!

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.07/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Since the GABF is going on this week-end...

A hazy, bright amber body, topped by a three-finger slab of white froth, plenty of bubbles on the surface. Good lacing.

Excellent piney aroma, highly inviting.

A quick burst of caramelly sweetness doesn't so much lay a foundation as just slide on by. Next up is a big dollop of orange, followed by a resiny, piney hop bite at the finish that lingers agressively for a good while.

Fair medium mouthfeel, a little "loose". Good drinkability.

Another good beer from Boulder, but probably not a medal winner.

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Photo of 86sportster883
4.07/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The GABF 25th Year Beer is a really nice ESB with an ABV of 7.3%. But you won't find the high alcohol level noticable in the taste, as this beer strikes a really nice balance between the sweetness of the British Pale Malt and the melow bitterness of New Zealand hops. Dry hopped with Saaz hops, the beer has a nice floral nose that adds to the enjoyment of drinking this beer. But what I like most about this beer is how well balanced it seems.

I drank this beer in an IPA glass. It pours a slightly cloudy golden honey color with a good sized head that dissapears, relatively quickly, into a thin white film. The nose is sweet, floral and almost fruity. It has a low, fizzy carbonation and a slightly thin mouthfeel. It starts almost mildly sweet but definitely finishes with a modest dose of hop bitterness.

I tend to like IPAs and other slightly bitter beers. Thus, I found the GABF 25th YB to be very drinkable with a nice warming sensation. A good beer to enjoy during a cold afternoon football game. Since there were only 100 barrels of this made, I would certainly recommend you try it before it's gone.

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Photo of mattpetti
4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice reddish amber in color with a nice fluffy white head that shows good retention and lacing in my glass. The smell is a pleasant blend of almost tropical fruitiness. Peach, nectarine, some orange, maybe some apriocot circle around the nose before yielding to crisp, herbal hop smell in the end. Smells yummy. Now for a sip. Well balanced fruity goodness with subtle yet firm, herbal hop bitterness. The finish has a crisp biscuit malt flavor that ends nicely. This beer doesn't let you miss anything as ther flavors swirl and gain complexity with every sip. Slightly dry and never to cloying or overpowering this beer is a joy to drink. Makes me wish i was able to go to this years festival. Those people are lucky who get this wonderful beer on tap. Cheers!!

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Photo of dherling
4.04/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a honey orange cloudy beer, crowned with a small white head that dissapears quickly, some lacing. Has some lovely fruit int he nose, orange, apricot, hops, fresh and green smelling. This has a big mouthfeel, and wonderfully balanced flavor. Lots of hops, and fruity yeast notes. Again, apricot, slight lemon, grass, and huge amounts of hops in the finish, oily slick, not overbearingly bitter.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, light copper color, with an off-white head.
The frothy foam worked up to an inch upon pouring, without any encouragement.
Above average lacework remained throughout the glass, with rings, streaks, and dots of whipped bubbles.
Aromatics are hoppy with a mild malt component, and plenty of fruit. Peaches, fresh mown grass, pears, and tangerines.
Enough hop character to be pungent.
Mouthfeel is medium and crisp. The carbonation level scrubs the pallet clean.
The pallet is more hops and an increased malt level, with some mild toasted malts coming through.
Bitterness is full and firm, and this beer is delivering more like an IPA.
Quite fruity and crisp, with a light, juicy malt character in the background. The alcohol has a somewhat building quality, but never gets hot.
Finishes bitter and crisp, with lingering citrus fruits and toasted malts.

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Photo of bigdeuce
4.02/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This was pretty damn good. Almost a cross between Hopback Amber for Troegs and a less hoppy version of Brutal Bitter from Rogue. Nice head, disappated quickly but left some sticky lacing. Nice smell with some cascade hops, perhaps, smooth and crisp taste with some tangy, hoppy, fruit on the backend with decent bitterness. Wish I had more than one.

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Photo of Drew966
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great American Beer Festival 25th Year Beer pours a copper color with a very minimal head that just clings along the edge of the glass. Beautiful floral hop aroma is present. Sweet malt followed by strong hops, there is kind of an unpleasant metallic note though when too cold, let it warm up a bit.

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Photo of barefootbrewer
3.99/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a cloudy orange/yellow with a thick head – which quickly dissipated. The aroma is heavy of hops, but the malt is noticeable. The taste is bitter from hops, but has a nice malty undertone. The mouthfeel is full and seems to work well for this beer. Overall, this is a nicely balanced delight to drink – wish I had bought more.

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Photo of warriorsoul
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light copper color, slightly hazed with a full finger of off-white head..leaves some thinly coated lacing.
Floral hops in the nose with not much else going on.
The taste is very well balanced...heavy pale malt with a heavy dose of floral hops, which bitters up this brew nicely, making it very fitting for an anniversary ESB.
No hint of easy session beer if given the opportunity.
Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and the carbonation is perfect.
A solid, limited offering from the folks at Boulder...real appreciative that they allowed this one to come to MA.
Find it while you will be quite pleased with this offering.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance - a bubbly, bouncy pour yields about two fingers of eggshell foam. The beer has a haze to it, a clouded, almost milky tangerine color. Craggy lacing around the glass.

Aroma - a light but resilient hop nose, pine and orange mostly. Simple but good.

Taste - without knowing the style, I'd say this is an enjoyable APA style beer. As an ESB I would expect some English style flavor, some of the butteryness, diacetyl, etc, there is none of that. Malt presence is more of a feel than a flavor, though a burger accompaniment does bring out some graininess. For the most part this is a nicely done hop show. Fruity and piny at first, taking a decidedly grapefruit turn on the swallow and aftertaste. A dry hoppy finish, again, well done for as APA but for an ESB I think it misses a bit.

Mouthfeel - smooth out of the gate, refreshingly crisp.

Drinkability - a great brew comemmorating a great event, I should've picked up a few more of these.

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Photo of JMD71
3.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ap: Slightly hazy, orangey gold color with tight head which receds after moments in the glass. Good lacing evident as the glass is emptied. Carbonation appeared slow.

Ar: Malty nose with huge hop bouquet. Slightly sweet at first but the citrusy hops are evident.

Ta: Sweet tangeries with nice hop balance. Fruity. Hops perfectly in balance with the malt bill. Almost a sligh mandarin orange flavor.

Mo: Light to medium bodied. Crisp & refreshing. Leaves palette very clean. I was expecting it to be fuller bodied, but the lighter body was welcomed!

Dr: Very easy drinking. Went down easily. The lighter body enhances its drinkability.

Comments: I really looked forward to this Boulder (& Charlie P!)offering & it lived up to its hype. A delicious beer. Very well crafted all around. Perfect balance without the huge bitterness.

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GABF 25th Year Beer from Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
3.7 out of 5 based on 91 ratings.
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